New Year’s Eve without our children

As I write this – the last of my columns for 2014 – I’m anticipating a different kind of New Year’s Eve. For the first time in 23 years (Talia was only a few months old at the time), we will bring in the New Year without our children. Chloe wasn’t born until Talia was 8 years old and by then, being together as a family for New Year’s celebrations was a ritual. Whether with extended family or friends, there were always young children around – nieces, nephews and friend’s children. Sometimes (when they too young to know any different), we pretended that New Years arrived around 10pm, after which we went our separate ways so that the adults could get their kids to bed before they brought in the New Years quietly as their children slept soundly upstairs. But things have changed. Our older daughter has chosen to attend a gala event at a downtown hotel with her friends and our fifteen year old, who isn’t in the least bit interested in hanging out with adults (even with friends around) has made other plans too. Ironically, despite sharing with me that she doesn’t really understand the hype of New Years and how it typically leads to disappointment because everyone anticipates it with such fervour, she seems pretty hyped up about it. This New Year’s eve I’m anticipating something much more low key, spent with a couple of close friends whose children too have gone in search of more excitement.

For those of you with young children, trying to organize a babysitter and wishing that you could stay out longer than your responsibilities allow, I can hear you thinking “Is this woman crazy? She has the opportunity to hang out with other adults, no children, and she’s complaining?” Truth is that for me, the hype has always been about being together on New Year’s Eve – with or without other family or friends – and counting down to midnight with our children. Even in the company of others, it was nice knowing that they were only an arm’s length away – even, as they got a little older, and were hugging their friends before they got around to us. Something special about being with them as the clock struck midnight and we ushered in a fresh new year, alive with goals and hopes and dreams.

This New Years, I can’t promise that I won’t wipe away a tear, as I reminisce nostalgically about the end of an era of New Year’s gatherings as we once knew them. So, if you have young children and you spend New Year’s Eve with them, enjoy and cherish these times. Because years move forward too quickly and before you know it, you too will be wishing your kids happy new year over the phone rather than as you hold them in a warm embrace.

From my family to yours – wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!